Are you guilty of overscheduling?
Is busy just part of being a mom and an entrepreneur? Or is it possible to raise well rounded, activity immersed children AND create a success business without feeling overwhelmed? This week we are talking how to avoid overscheduling your life…both as a mom and as an entrepreneur.
Moms LOVE to say yes. We love to be involved. And we love to help. We hate to feel like we are letting people down. Especially our kids. BUT what happens when all those yeses compound to create a schedule that feels stressful and overwhelming? An anxious, stressed-out, overstimulated, unfulfilled mom entrepreneur is what happens. But we’re going to fix that.
When you actively work to control your schedule rather than letting it control you, you will find that there is time and space for what you truly value. For the priorities you’ve set for yourself, your business, and your family. And whatever fear or struggle you had in letting go of the events that don’t tick those boxes will dissipate quickly as you bask in the new found time and energy you’ve created by protecting yourself.
When you utilize the 3 steps I give you today, you take back control. You stop worrying about letting people down or disappointing your PTA or volunteer group or children and start making decisions about your time that focus on your values, your goals and your priorities. Both for your family and for your business.
If you’re usually a “yes” mom and you’re thinking “there is no way I can change my schedule. This is just the way it is going to be until my kids get older. Or until I can hire help. Or no one else can do it like me.” I have a truth bomb for you. You can make a change and stand up for the life you want. Or you can continue to complain and live that life that everyone else wants from you. Your choice.
When you stand up for your time, your values, your goals, and your dreams, you will start to see your life align. You can spend time fulfilling your vision with the creative energy you previously spent fulfilling someone else’s vision. And you can reallocate the time and effort you applied to reach someone else’s goal to your goals.
You’ll find ways to fill your cup, whether it’s for personal or business reasons, on a daily basis because you stop or limit what you are pouring out to others.
You can show up present at your child’s event without thinking about the other 100 things you have to do when you don’t dilute your energy. And you can devote focused effort to an organization you feel truly passionate about rather than giving the bare minimum to help them succeed. You and your family will start to see that less truly is more when it comes to your schedule.
Avoiding Overscheduling is About Knowing
Resetting your busy life is all about “knowing”. We are going to know where we need to be, know what space we need around that activity, and say no to tasks or projects that no longer align with our values or goals.
The first step to avoid overscheduling is to know your schedule. And to be honest, this is the task where you mamas are killing it. Most of you maintain some sort of family and business calendar so kudos to you. Where I see struggles start to arise with clients and in my community is when those calendars stay in separate places. Like when we schedule a meeting until 4 when soccer pick up is at 4:30.
This leads us to our second step to avoid overscheduling which is knowing the space we need around the activity. We know soccer practice ends at 4:30. We know we have a meeting until 4. And we know it takes 20 minutes to get to soccer. That’s running it pretty close if the meeting runs over. Or if there’s traffic. Or you can’t find your keys. What you need is margin. Or a buffer zone.
A huge factor in the anxiety we feel is the continuous slamming of activity into activity is. There is no transition time. We need breathing room. Do you have a transition or buffer space when you look at the schedules for you, your business, your kids, and your spouse layered on top of each other? If not, it may not be the actual number of activities that is causing you to feel overwhelmed, but the fact that there is never a minute to catch your breath in between.
And if you’re saying “Well, there’s nothing I can do about that, it’s just how it is.” That brings us to our third way of knowing which is actually N-Oing noing. Saying no more often. Protecting your time and energy by choosing tasks and activities that align with your goals rather than rushing to something your aren’t passionate about. Telling your kids “no” to the 17th activity they want to add when you feel like your evenings are spent as a chauffeur. Telling your clients “no” I can’t have a call at 8pm because that is my family time.
It’s gonna feel uncomfortable. I know, I’ve been there. You’re going to feel like you’re letting people down. But you are the decider when it comes to where you spend your time and how you expend your energy. Let’s stand up for our priorities, values, and goals rather than letting others dictate our day or free time.
Ok…I know that might ruffle few feathers out there, but if you are feeling that, it may be because you know there needs to be a change. Change is often uncomfortable. And hard. But a year from now, do you want to be proud of the leaps you’ve made in your business and personal life or stuck in the same stressful schedule cycle of overscheduling? If you’re ready to take action, I want you to take a look at your schedule. See how your commitments overlap or butt up to one another. See where you can build in some margin or a buffer zone to allow for transition from one activity to the next. And see where you can say no to build in space for your projects and goals as well as slowing the frantic pace of zooming from one activity to the next.
Sometimes, social media sucks…
Ahhh, social media…the blessing and the curse of 21st-century entrepreneurship. And probably life in general. Full disclosure before we dive in…I love social media. In fact, I may love it a little too much. Which is why I created some social media boundaries for myself…which are a constantly evolving work in progress. And I wanted to share some steps you can take to protect your time, energy, and effort when you know social media is a vital part of running your business but social media sucks you into scroll holes.
Identifying and addressing any social media sucks in your daily routine help to protect your time and energy. And maybe most importantly, your mindset.
If you can create some clear rules around who, what, when, where, and how much you engage with social media, you can continue to use it to grow you community, build your brand, and make money…just with some clearly defined and maintained boundaries to protect you.
The strategies I share today help you shift from the “I have to spend lots time on social media to build my business, even though a significant percentage of the time I spend isn’t doing that” to “I am going to be intentional how I spend my time on social media”.
Depending on your stage of business you are in, you may feel like you have to show up everywhere, every day, at all hours. And I get that. When I started my organizing business in 2009, there weren’t even Facebook business pages. Fast forward to my coaching pivot in 2019 and I felt completely overwhelmed by sheer number of platforms and users. And the gurus say “go where your audience is.” Well, what if you don’t know where that is??? You have to spend time everywhere to figure that out, right? Maybe not necessarily so.
When you create an intentional plan for your social media, you can see growth without spreading yourself too thin. Or spending hours on multiple platforms and possibly losing precious time to mindless scrolling. I may be speaking from experience here.
You’ll approach social media with a clear plan for what you post. And boundaries around how much time and energy you spend on a platform outside of your business building activities.
This new clearly defined, boundary-bound plan of action for your social media will benefit your community because your time on social media will have a clear goal serving them. And you’ll reclaim time to focus on other aspects of your business, your family, or yourself…Sans cell phone by creating clear parameters around your social media use.
Creating Boundaries When Social Media Sucks
Ready to create some boundaries around your social media to protect and efficiently use your time, energy, and effort there? Here are 4 ways you can easily create those boundaries, especially when you are feeling sucked in:
- Take a break. Whether for a day or a week or whatever time you need. Maybe it’s just from a certain platform that really sucks you time and energy. Step away from daily interactions. Of course, you could still schedule content if you feel it necessary. (And I’m sure social media experts are cringing when I suggest you post and ghost…but it’s just for a little while.) The idea is just to hit the reset. Spend your time elsewhere. See how you feel and how your daily patterns, thoughts, and focus changes.
- Scale back on the number of platforms. If you’re spent trying to keep up with Facebook and Instagram and TikTok and YouTube and Pinterest and Clubhouse and whatever new flavor of the month social media pops this week…scale back. Where are you seeing the most growth? Which platform do you enjoy the most? Where do you have the strongest community or most interactions? Maybe you chose a platform for business and a platform for personal time. But by scaling back the number of places you are creating content for and posting to, you can reclaim time and energy to funnel into other activities.
- Set Time Limits. Who gets stuck in scroll holes? You can’t see me but I am raising my hand high. In fact, when we were deep in the thick of the quarantine, I spent close to 4-5 hours a day scrolling according to my phone’s tracker. 4-5 hours!!! And I can tell you nearly all of that was not “work related”. Both Apple and Android have built-in trackers that allow you to shut down access to the app after a certain time period. And there are third-party apps that do the same thing. The idea being that you can limit mindless scrolling and focus energy when you are on the app because you know if you don’t get it done in your 60-90 minutes of app access a day, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. It’s like Parkinson’s Law says “work expands to fit the time allowed”. If you say you will get your social media work by spending 60 minutes a day on the app, you will. If you have no parameters, the time you take will also have no bounds.
- Hire help. Finally, if you are easily distractable, prone to mindless scrolling, or you feel like building your social media presence sucks way too much of your time, energy, and effort…hire a professional. Just like any time you hire an expert to do the job they are an expert in, they can do it faster and with better results. Freeing you up to spend time in your zone of genius without the risk of getting sucked into a scroll hole.
Looking to scale back how much social media sucks your time, energy, and effort? Your action step for today is to apply 1 or more of the strategies. Take a break. Scale back the number of platforms you are using. Set time limits for daily platform use. Or hire a professional to help with your social media. Any one of these things can help you re-evaluate and re-calibrate your relationship with social media. And put you on the path to reallocating your time and energy.
Bye-bye procrastination! It’s time to stop avoiding what you need to do…
Last week we talked about what you should work on first. Well, what if that thing is something that you don’t really want to do. We need to stop avoiding the “hard stuff”. We all have aspects of our business where’s it’s like pulling teeth to get it done. Maybe it’s your accounting. Or email marketing. Or cold calling leads.
For me, it’s DM’s. I don’t know why I struggle because I LOVE connecting with my community and it is always a positive exchange. But so often I put it off. Sound familiar? You know it will be good for you or your business. You’ve have positive results from this action in the past. And yet, you still can’t get motivated to act on that thing. Well, mama, that is exactly why we are going to talk about how to stop avoiding the hard stuff.
I like to talk about what I call the “Fulfillment-Productivity Cycle” with my clients and community. When you’re more productive, you feel more fulfilled. And when you’re more fulfilled, you feel more productive. When you finally do the stuff you’ve been avoiding or regularly add the tasks you know will benefit you but you can’t find the motivation for to your routine…you will find the joy of crossing it off your to-do list or the progress you see from taking action far outweighs whatever joy you think you have by avoiding it.
When you start committing to taking action, to putting it on your schedule, maybe even finding accountability to hold you to completing the task, you will start to feel relief that you’ve completed it. Finally! And, many times you will see an impact. You’ll find a place you’ve been wasting money by reviewing your Quickbooks. You’ll connect with a potential client who says “I’m so glad you reached out, I’ve been meaning to call you.”
Avoiding the hard stuff just creates more anxiety. And I don’t know about you, but mom entrepreneur life itself, especially this last year during a pandemic, has enough anxiety on its own. But for some reason, it the back of our minds, we think if we just don’t do it, we might not have to do it. Or another way might pop up that doesn’t seem as hard. And I don’t know about you, but that is rarely the case. All the avoidance did was cause me stress and potentially cost me money or new clients or a good night’s sleep.
You might be thinking “I hear you, Christy but”…and then a whole line of excuses pops up in your brain. I’m an introvert. I don’t know what to say. My finances are such a mess and I’m embarrassed to show someone. I don’t know how to ask for help. I can’t afford help and I can’t do it alone. And let me tell you. You are not alone. Nearly every entrepreneur feels some sort of doubt, imposter syndrome, embarrassment, shame, or fear. It’s the ones that find a way to overcome those thoughts that succeed. And I want you to succeed.
I want you to feel confident tackling tasks outside your comfort zone. To feel confident asking for help from professionals that can get you on track for greater success. And to finally cross that task off your to-do list and think “wow, that wasn’t so bad! Why have I been avoiding it for so long?”
You will start to see growth from completing these impact driven tasks you’ve avoided. And you’ll build confidence or strategies around how you can continue to complete this task in the future without avoiding or delaying it.
And to tie this all up in a neat little bow, when you do those hard thing. The things you’ve been avoiding or putting off, you will feel more fulfilled. You’re fulfilled from crossing them off your list. You’ve fulfilled because you see a result from completing the action. And when you feel fulfilled, you’ll be motivated to do it again. To feel more productive. Not to mention, as fulfilled mama you show up happier and less stressed for your family. Which fulfills you in another way.
How to Stop Avoiding the Hard Stuff
So remember…avoiding a task that you know is beneficial or necessary increases your anxiety. Which can cause irratibility, restlessness, lack of concentration, sleeplessness…just all around no beuno. Instead, let’s make a specific time to commit to working on that hard thing. Maybe find some sort of accountability to check in that you’ve started or completed the task. Think of how good it will feel to finally cross that item off you to-do list and know it is no longer hanging over your head.
Here are your action steps to finally tackle that hard thing you’ve been avoiding. First, I want you to visualize yourself completing the task…maybe you see a successful phone call ending with taking a credit card number. Or maybe you see yourself with extra found time because entering six months of expenses you’ve been avoiding didn’t really take that much time. Perhaps it’s just you smiling in your office chair proud that you did the thing. Feel into how good getting it done feels.
Next, add it to you schedule or make the appointment you need to do it. Not just your list where it gets moved from day to day. Your actual schedule.
And finally, tell your spouse, friend, or coach that you are committing to completing this task on this day by this time. Then ask them to check-in. Accountability is a very powerful motivator.
Let’s talk about what to work on FIRST.
Tell me if this sounds familiar..you finally manage to carve out time to work on your business. You sit down at your desk or kitchen table or on the couch with your laptop, look at your list of tasks to do, and feel completely overwhelmed. Where do you even start? Opt-in? Pinterest? Networking? Does it even matter?
Well, yes. What you work on first does matter. And that is why today we are talking about why you need to know what to work on first versus just diving headfirst into your list willy nilly.
As a mom entrepreneur, making the most of the time you work is essential to striking any sort of balance between running a successful business and maintaining a happy household. When you know what to work on first, or your “Impact Driven Tasks” as I like to call them, the energy you put into work will have a greater affect. In time, you may start to see that you can reduce or stop doing tasks that don’t make an impact. And less tasks means (ding, ding, ding) less time and energy spent working…and more time for your family and yourself.
If you can get in the habit of clearly defining what you NEED to do versus what you WANT to do first, you can start to feel this shift in your productivity and time management. Up until now, you might have just thought “as long as it gets done, does it really matter what I do first”? Or “I have to do it all so I might as well start with the stuff that I like to do”.
But you don’t have to live with those feelings of confusion and overwhelm. You don’t have to feel like by working you have to sacrifice time with your family. Or by spending time with your family you’re shirking responsibilities and putting your business at risk.
Benefits of Know What to Work on First
A regular practice of prioritizing your tasks means you get the truly urgent and important tasks out of the way. It means you may realize that there are tasks you don’t really need to spend time and energy on because they aren’t truly impact driven.
And when you focus on tasks that have a due date, have a consequence, impact your community growth, or will help you make money FIRST, you don’t have to worry if mom life happens. Or you want to take a few days off. Your impact driven tasks are done. Go take time off or care for your sick kid.
When you can leave your work at your desk because you know your priorities are met, you show up more present for your family…Whether it’s for pleasure or in case of emergency.
How to Determine What to Work on First
Are you ready to tackle what matters most on your to-do list? Let me my TRIM Your To-Do list method to make determining your priority tasks easier…
- Is it time sensitive? Is there a due date? If yes, it is a priority.
- Is it required? Do you need to complete this task as part of a larger task? Is there a task where you can’t proceed until this part is complete. If the task is require, it is a priority.
- Does it have an impact? Will there be a positive or negative consequence with this task…like if you don’t sign up for a conference it might sell out? Or if you don’t show up LIVE for you community like you’ve told them you would, they might stop showing up for you? If the task will have an impact, it is a priority.
- Is it money related? Will completing this task make you money? Will not completing this task cost you money? If yes, it is a priority.
Your action step for today to make sure you work on what matters first is to run your to-list through my TRIM You To-Do List questions…Is it time sensitive? Is it required? Will it have a impact? Is it money related? If you answer yes, your task is a priority. If you answer no to all the questions, best to focus your energy on another task first.
“Where your focus goes, energy flows.”Tony Robbins